Despite the failed impeachment, partisan fighting over immigration has escalated in an election year.
The House in a 214-216 vote blocked a committee’s impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Four Republicans bucked their leadership, joining Democrats in opposing the charges against the Cabinet member.
The House already was investigating whether any of
Biden’s past behavior before moving into the White House might have constituted a high crime or misdemeanor. Even some Republicans have said they do not see such evidence yet.
Democrats view the effort as retribution for having twice led impeachments against former President Donald Trump.
Earlier, Senate Republicans appeared to have killed
a bipartisan border security deal. The measure was an effort to solve the very border security problems that they wanted Mayorkas to stop, including record numbers of illegal immigrants arriving at the southern border with Mexico.
Biden said at the White House: “All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? The simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically.”
Republican senators have lined up against the $118 billion measure, which includes new military aid for Ukraine and Israel, prompting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to conclude that the effort would fail.
Some Republicans said the bill failed to effectively deal with the heavy flow of migrants at the border, with criticism beginning almost immediately after the complex bill was unveiled.
“It looks to me, and to most of our members, as if we have no real chance here to make a law,” McConnell said at a press conference.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to push ahead with plans for a Wednesday procedural vote on the bill, knowing it was unlikely to succeed.
Polls show that immigration has become a top concern for voters as Trump prepares for a likely November rematch with Biden.
Johnson has said that if the Senate passes it, the bill would be “dead on arrival” in his chamber.
The House’s Homeland Security Committee last week approved two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, a near-unprecedented step to take against a member of a president’s cabinet over a policy dispute.
That had happened only once in U.S. history, in 1876 when a war secretary was impeached on charges of criminal misconduct.
Representative Tom McClintock said the investigation into Mayorkas had failed to “identify an impeachable crime,” and Representative Ken Buck made a similar statement on Monday.
During debate, McClintock said, “Secretary Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration of our immigration laws on a cosmic scale.” He added, however, that the Constitution does not intend impeachment to be used as a weapon in “political disputes.”
House Republicans allege that Mayorkas was intentionally lax in securing the long border with Mexico and violated the public trust by making false statements to Congress.
Around 2 million migrants were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2023.
Mayorkas has denied any wrongdoing and has defended his tenure.
Calling the impeachment move a “sham,” Democratic Representative James McGovern said, “What you’re doing today does nothing to help anything at the border.”
Democrats and some legal experts have said the impeachment charges fall well short of evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors” under the Constitution’s impeachment requirement.